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Nurses' anger over extended hours

Nearly two-thirds of nurses claim their practices have failed to discuss extended opening hours with them, a new survey shows.

More than half said their practice is planning to open for longer, but 78% said they will not work extended hours unless practices offer them "unsocial hours" pay.

The poll for Independent Nurse magazine also found that 53% said they will refuse to work Saturdays, while 44% will not come in on weekday evenings or early mornings.

Almost all of the nurses questioned (96%) said the Department of Health should have consulted them over plans to extend GP surgery times.

Kate Howie, chair of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Practice Nurse Association, warned that nurses could avoid general practice jobs if the issue is not resolved.

"If practices impose this, nurses will vote with their feet," she said.

But a Department of Health spokeswoman said: "It is for practices to determine the pay and conditions of their staff, including any extension to their contracted hours.

"The current offer to the BMA on extended opening is based on additional access for patients to a GP.

"It will be for practices themselves to determine if they wish to offer appointments with practice nurses in addition to this."

Department of Health

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Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

"I see no reason why nurses would be expected to work unsocial hours, this is an agreement with GPs, and shouldn't in any way affect us. In my early  practice  nursing days, GPs worked Saturday, but we never did. I most certainly will not be extending my hours" - Name and address supplied

"Nurses do need to be rewarded as no doubt the doctors will be for extended working. I don't believe that nurses will walk out however they should not sign up for this without negotiating unsocial hours pay." - V Henry

"No, however that depends on the relationship  between the gp and their staff. I fortunatly was consulted on the extended hours and I too have said I will not work on a Saturday, without unsocial hours, we get little renumeration anyway." - Name and address supplied

"I think this is mainly for GPs as the DoH has stipulate, nurses can always opt out of the exetened hours, if the pay is not right." - Name and address supplied

"I do think nurses will walk out. The reason I became a practice nurse was the regular hours with no weekends. As a single parent I would have to provide extra childcare cover which would be extremely difficault over a weekend. When then would I actually get to spend time with my child as he is at school all week. I would not be happy to change my current situation
and if forced to without getting unsocial hours pay would have to look for a different job." - Name and address supplied

"And walk where, back to the hospital that most of us couldn't wait to get out of? Also where do most nurses command the salary and holidays they receive, out there in the big harsh world?" - MC, Lancs